Being russian/ukrainian = better japanese accent?

right, what I think happens is that the sounds in russian/ukrainian/belorussian/etc more closely correlate to those of japanese, that is why, for example, russians and japanese people usually speak with strong accents in english and english people speak with strong accents in russian/japanese, however since russian/ukrainian/belorussian/etc has the same types of sounds as japanese (and of course more since japanese doesn’t have a difference between r/l and f/h) slavic people are more “attuned” to japanese sounds. this occured to me when I was listening to a proficient american on a japanese podcast speak in japanese - while his knowledge of japanese in general is miles above me and I’m sure he speaks fluent japanese, I was still like “why is he speaking in such a bad accent?” Now, I don’t claim that my accent is perfect or that I know japanese to any great extent but I still feel that it’s easier for slavic/post-ussr people to tune in to japanese pronunciation

“(…)since russian/ukrainian/belorussian/etc has the same types of sounds as japanese”

They do? I’m not convinced that Japanese and the East Slavic group have the same sounds… Assuming your hypothesis isn’t totally off, do Japanese also have better accent in Russian/Ukrainan/Belorusian?

Excuse me Yuriy, but your indirect suggestion that the word “slavic” is exchangeable with the word “post-ussr”, to put it mildly, this suggestion sounds ridiculous. There were Slavic countries which were not incorporated to USSR as well as non-Slavic which were. So, please do not suggest that one may use those words interchangeably. Thank you.

gregloby I meant that general vicinity

If you speak Spanish you can very easily learn Japanese sentences without knowing much of the language and all Japanese speakers will be amazed at your very good pronunciation. It has happened to me many years ago. I am not sure it is the case with Russian speakers, at least not to the same extent. I don’t know about other Slavic languages. The syllabic structure in Spanish and Japanese is very similar (although in Japanese there are fewer possible combinations of sounds) and both are five-vowel languages.


The number of sounds in Japanese is very small. The vowels are similar to Spanish and Spanish speakers find that without much effort they have a good accent in Japanese. Of course, please remember that Japanese readily praise non-natives who attempt their language. Then you must deny that you have a good accent with “Tondemo arimasen” or “Tondemo nai” which means, “That’s ridiculous!” and it usually is…because beginners often say funny things in Japanese if they stray off of
set phrases.

Then if they keep praising you, you have to come up with another thing to admit. You must say something like, “There is still a great deal that I do not know” etc. until the game of denials is over.
If you can go a few rounds of denying that you are good in Japanese, then you…are.

There is a funny podcast about this somewhere at LingQ.

Here’s the name of the podcast in the library.

Nihongo-Juku Blog, Accepting compliments

「そんな こと あり ませ ん 」

Btw, I should have written “stray from” set phrases.

Russian has a very poor vowel inventory, which may explain your theory, Yuri. Although, I’d collect some supporting evidence first.

I just came back from a night out. We ended up in the casino where I was talking with a Pakistani guy, my friend’s friend. So I told him I know couple of Pakistani songs and he was laughing at the beginning, he said (knowing that I m greek and having no relation with pakistan or india) “this is impossible”. Then I start pronouncing him the lyrics (well I tried to sing them but it was horrible) and he could perfectly make sense, he even translated for me what they mean in english. The trick was that I know those songs from “greek parodies”… means songs that they are pakistani but their sound resembles greek words. And of course what they sound like in greek has nothing to do with what they mean in reality. So that is how I memorized all the lyrics, and although I have no clue of pakistani or indian that guy understood what I was saying! (I have watched “english parodies” for indian songs but they re not even half funny and their words don’t match really to what is said, so I don’t think if an english person would say these words to an indian would make sense).
There are also “greek parodies” for some japaneese songs and I ve even seen for one kazakstanian song.
The funniest though are the indian and pakistani!!!
Also greek and spanish pronunciation is very similar. There is not any spanish “greek parodies” songs cause the language does not resemble much in greek but the accent is almost the same.
When my spanish friend asked me to repeat some phrases after him, he said that I speak like a spanish person who pretends that doesn’t speak spanish!
Well, my point is that it is possible for two apparently totally unrelated languages to have very similar sounds.
Ok, that’s not a new discovery!!! but just for the discussion…

The pakistani guy was very happy and surprised I new those songs that I felt bad to tell him the truth why I know them. I ll tell him next time and I hope he won’t take it bad! Maybe it’s was just for joking at the beginning but I do start like indian and pakistani songs now

taking it further, what would be cooler though if 2 languages happened to be exactly the same, that’d be a head trip like aliens who’se native language is “M__23aa” but it is a carbon copy of “British english”

Yuriy, you can compare the sounds of Ukrainian, Russian and Japanese using IPA lists. That would be a good way to test your theory. I have studied Japanese and speak it conversationally. I am studying Russian regularly and Ukrainian occasionally. Imo, I don’t find them to be terribly similar soundwise, but I could be wrong. I’ll test my own theory by consulting the IPA lists.

Have you considered that you may simply have a better ear than the English speaker you mentioned?
Japanese is one of the easier languages to pronounce since it has so few sounds. Also, some people (not just English speakers) tend to keep bits of their native sound when they speak another language.

When I saw your video I wondered if Jidaigeki (時代劇) were popular in (the) Ukraine. Your way of speaking reminds me of those samurai dramas. I think you might sound a little more modern if you
shadowed the prosody of some young professional Japanese men. Of course, if your aim was to be comic and parody Jidaigeki (時代劇), I understand that.

Hi, I’m a native Japanese speaker and I’ve found Korean is very similar in sound/pronunciation.
As for Spanish, it is similar too but we don’t have strong rrrr sound (or ANY r sound to be more precise.). My knowledge of Russian is strictly limited to borscht and piroshky unfortunately, therefore I cannot tell if it is easier to pronounce of not.

I think Japanese pronunciation is simply easier than most languages. I can accurately imitate all the sounds. Try learning Russian or Ukrainian as a foreigner.